Mtukudzi pulls out of LETOFE

Lesotho Times - - Weekender - Mo­halenyane Phakela

AFRO jazz ex­po­nent, Oliver Mtukudzi, has can­celled his per­for­mance at the Le­sotho Tourism Fes­ti­val (LETOFE) due to an “un­fore­seen fam­ily is­sue”.

Ac­cord­ing to LETOFE rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Mon­toeli Moleli, the Zim­bab­wean muso would now be re­placed by South African Jazz leg­end Vusi Mahlasela in the fete slated for 26 De­cem­ber 2015 at Thaba Bo­siu Cul­tural Vil­lage.

Moleli said Mtukudzi re­layed the mes­sage last week that he could no longer make it to the fes­ti­val due to “un­avoid­able cir­cum­stances”.

“We re­ceived the sad news this past week in which Oliver said he was held up by se­ri­ous fam­ily mat­ters which would not al­low him to be in Le­sotho at the time of the fes­ti­val,” he said.

“Mtukudzi said when he signed the con­tract, he was not aware of the chal­lenge he now faces, and he sent sin­cere apolo­gies to both LETOFE and his fans in Le­sotho who were look­ing for­ward to his per­for­mance.”

The can­cel­la­tion, Moleli said, was a blow for LETOFE or­gan­is­ers since they had al­ready in­vested in de­sign­ing and print­ing the pro­mo­tional ma­te­rial that in­cludes Mtukudzi.

“There is noth­ing we can do about it and we un­der­stand that fam­ily comes first. The pro­mo­tional ma­te­rial is al­ready cir­cu­lat­ing and peo­ple are ex­pect­ing him to come,” he said.

“If only he had in­formed us be­fore we started to pub­li­cise the fes­ti­val. We have worked with Oliver be­fore when he per­formed twice at LETOFE in pre­vi­ous edi­tions, and we be- lieve his prob­lem is gen­uine. He has promised to make amends by com­ing next year.”

Moleli said they were for­tu­nate to find a re­place­ment of the same cal­i­bre as Mtukudzi on short no­tice in Mahlasela.

“We looked for some­one who could match Mtukudzi’s stan­dard and were lucky to find Vusi Mahlasela,” he said.

“It is not easy to get a good artist this late ahead of the fes­tive sea­son. So we con­sider our­selves lucky to land him, and the added bonus will be that it would be his de­but ap­pear­ance in Le­sotho.”

Con­tacted for com­ment from his Jo­han­nes­burg base, Mtukudzi’s agent Kevin Stu­art said the can­cel­la­tion was un­avoid­able.

“Oliver has com­pli­cated fam­ily is­sues that he needs to at­tend to, and un­for­tu­nately he will still be com­mit­ted to the prob­lem by the time of the fes­ti­val,” he said.

“I can­not get into the de­tails of what the prob­lem is, but what I can say is we apol­o­gize for the in­con­ve­nience this has caused. With re­gards to the con­tract, we have re­solved ev­ery­thing with the or­gan­is­ers.”

Asked whether Mtukudzi would come to next year’s edi­tion, Stu­art said: “We would love for Oliver to come next year to make up for dis­ap­point­ing fans in Le­sotho, but then, it is too early to make com­mit­ments and the de­ci­sion also lies with the LETOFE or­gan­is­ers.”

Other artists billed to per­form at the 11th edi­tion of the fes­ti­val in­clude Andy Narell and Por­tia Monique from the United States, South Africa’s Zonke, Bonolo, Athari and Riky Rick. The lo­cal con­tin­gent will in­clude Tšepo Tšola, Maleh as well as the up-and­com­ing JC Crew.

OUT... Oliver Mtukudzi.

IN... Vusi Mahlasela.

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